Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Venezuela's Chavez Says Rich Ought To Vote For Him

The Politics of Resentment

In an article in Reuters, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that it would be in the best interest of the wealthy to vote for his presidency, despite his deeply leftist politics, if they want to avoid civil war. Chavez, 58, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, 40, face off in an October 7 vote for the presidency of the South American nation of 29 million people, which has the world's largest oil reserves and is a financier of leftist governments around the region.
Though Chavez leads the majority of Venezuela's best-known polls, Capriles' numbers have been creeping up in recent weeks and he is just ahead in a couple of them, leaving each side to believe it has a strong chance of winning.
Having made a political career of bashing the rich for all Venezuela's ills - and indeed the world's - the socialist Chavez told them in a campaign speech late on Sunday that they should back him if they want stability.
"The rich families have their families, fine houses, good vehicles, probably an apartment at the beach, properties and so on. They like to travel abroad for holidays," he told a rally. "Does a civil war suit them? Not at all. It only suits the extreme, fascist right embodied by the loser. It is in the interests of the peace-loving rich for Chavez to win, and I invite them to vote for Chavez on October 7. Chavez guarantees peace, stability and economic growth."
His opponent, Capriles Radonski, is a lawyer by training and is currently the governor of the state of Miranda. Capriles Radonski's maternal grandmother (Lili Bochenek de Radonski) was Jewish and a Holocaust survivor; Capriles himself is a practicing Catholic. As for his campaign promises, Reuters writes: "As well as tackling runaway crime and a proliferation of weapons in society, Capriles promised to create 500,000 new jobs per year and raise the minimum wage 22 percent to 2,500 bolivars ($581) per month."

Back to President Chavez and his use of typical scaremongering tactics; it might mean the election is too close for the comfort of the incumbent. As is common with many populists, Chavez's rhetoric appeals to the baser instincts of humanity; he is immensely popular among the poor, having himself humble origins. 

Not surprising, the Chavez Administration in Venezuela has close ties to Iran and is, again not surprising, hostile to Israel. [see George Jochnowitz's "Chavez and Ahmadinejad United —Against Israel."]. If Chavez loses the election on October 7th, would the new Venezuelan president change the direction of Venezuelan foreign policy?

You can read the rest of the article at [Reuters]